Geoffrey's Home Early

Infant transplant patient doing better than expected

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Eight-month-old Geoffrey Byrne just woke up from his nap and he needs to be changed.

But while most other infants his age would likely be screaming out of grumpiness or discomfort, Geoffrey just smiles.

And smiles and smiles and smiles.

With good reason.

For one thing, he's back home in Payson two months earlier than his UCLA doctors predicted. For another, the liver transplant Geoffrey underwent March 21 can now be termed a raging success. For another, Geoffrey feels healthy for the first time in his young life.

"So far, he's doing really well," Geoffrey's mother, Becca Jones, said. "He made a fast recovery, faster than most babies. We were only there a month after the transplant, and they had planned on three. He's gaining his weight back, his blood tests are almost normal and they get better every time, he's pink and healthy-looking where he used to be yellow. He rolls over and sits up pretty good. And he doesn't cry unless he's hungry and he's always hungry. That's another wonderful thing."

Geoffrey's little body did try to reject the new liver once, but his doctors got him over that hump.

"There haven't been any signs of rejection since then," Jones said.

That single setback was not unusual, she said. "Eight out of 10 people reject the organ at first. We were really fortunate that we got a whole liver instead of a split liver, because there are more rejection problems with the split liver."

Two months after Geoffrey's birth last Aug. 10, he was diagnosed with the deadly disease biliary atresia the congenital absence orclosure of the ductsthat drain bile from the liver. The disease can cause a variety of serious and life-threatening internal problems, many of which Geoffrey experienced. But if all goes well, his new liver and medications he'll have to take daily should continue to provide him with a normal, healthy, pain-free, smile-worthy life.

"For a while, he'll also have weekly visits with his Mesa doctors and monthly visits with his Los Angeles doctors. But he won't have to go back into the hospital," Jones said with a very happy smile of her own.

Meantime, Jones is still faced with the piles of expenses she and Geoffrey are incurring beyond the boy's hospital bills, which are covered by insurance.

To help, a benefit run has been organized by the Phoenix Riders for Sunday, May 5, at the Rye Creek Bar and Grill, 11 miles south of Payson. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., hamburgers and hot dogs will be served at $5 per plate, and $1 raffle tickets will be sold with proceeds going to help Geoffrey and his mother.

For more information about the benefit run, contact LaDonna at (602) 992-9946. Monetary donations can be made through Wells Fargo Bank, account No. 1003739826.

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